The Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, who recently got a meeting with Barack Obama cancelled after calling the U.S. president a “son of a bitch,” has been accused by a witness of feeding a human corpse to a crocodile.
According to The Washington Post, “Davao Death Squad” member 57-year-old Edgar Matobato claimed Thursday that, in the days before his presidency, Duterte paid hit men to execute “criminals like drug pushers, rapists, snatchers” as part of an anti-drug campaign.
But he also said that Mr. Duterte’s opponents had been targeted too, including four bodyguards of a local rival for mayor, Prospero Nograles.
Matobato claimed that he saw Duterte gun down a justice department official with an Uzi.
“Jamisola [the justice department official] was still alive when he [Duterte] arrived. He emptied two Uzi magazines on him,” he said.
These killings before were labeled “extra-judicial killings” and were the source of a bizarre comment in which Duterte called Barack Obama a “son of a bitch.”
Duterte, in advance of Obama discussing these extra-judicial killings at a scheduled G20 meeting summit’s sidelines, said, “You must be respectful. Do not just throw questions,” using the vulgar Tagalog phrase “Putang ina.”
“I do not want to quarrel with the most powerful country on the planet,” he later apologized. “Washington has been so liberal about criticizing human rights, human rights and human rights. How about you? I have so many questions also about human rights to ask you. So […] people who live in glass houses should not [throw stones].”
A spokesman for the Duterte has denied Matobato’s claims.
Interestingly, as The Washington Post noted, Duterte did not have an issue being associated with a death squad during his presidential campaign.
“Am I the death squad? True. That is true,” he said in May. “When I become president, I’ll order the police and the military to find these people and kill them. The funeral parlors will be packed. […] I’ll supply the dead bodies.”
Since Duterte was elected, 3,000 drug users and dealers have been killed in in police operations or by vigilantes, according the BBC.